by James A. Bacon
Governor Glenn Youngkin’s board-of-visitors appointments to the University of Virginia and the Virginia Community College System are bound to shake up the status quo, as Bacon’s Rebellion has documented in earlier posts today. His designation of four new members to the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors could generate controversy as well.
The outgoing VMI board is the one that presided when former Governor Ralph Northam evicted former Superintendent J.H. Binford Peay III, replaced him with the current Superintendent, Cedric Wins, stood silent (or expressed support) when The Washington Post and a Northam-appointed investigation maligned the military academy as systemically racist, and approved a series of measures to undo the alleged racism.
The big question is this: How hard will new board members fight to preserve what dissident alumni refer to as threats to core VMI institutions such as the Honor Code and the Rat Line? The answer to that question may hinge on whether the Wins administration is actually implementing policies hostile to free expression and bedrock values.
The appointees include: Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
The university alumni rebellion, which first took root in Virginia, is going national.
Washington & Lee University was the first higher-ed institution in the country, to my knowledge, where alumni organized to fight the leftward drift of their alma mater. The W&L group, known as the Generals Redoubt, was followed quickly by The Jefferson Council (to which I belong) at the University of Virginia and The Spirit of VMI at the Virginia Military Institute.
Now the W&L and UVa groups have joined with newly formed alumni organizations at Princeton University, Cornell University and Davidson College to form the Alumni Free Speech Association. While each institution has its unique, parochial issues, they share a common resolve to stand up for free speech, free expression, independent inquiry, and intellectual diversity in the face of a doctrinaire “woke” ideology that, in increasingly totalitarian fashion, dictates the permissible range of opinions people are allowed to express.
Graduates are creating new organizations from scratch because the incumbent alumni organizations almost universally have failed to represent all of the alumni. They have been co-opted by the university presidents and turned into fund-raising arms. If the University of Virginia alumni association is any indication — and I hear the same critique of the associations at W&L and VMI — they function as rah-rah-aren’t-we-great propaganda arms for their university administrations and sugar-coat the march toward leftist orthodoxy. Continue reading
by James A. Bacon
The Spirit of VMI Political Action Committee (SoVP), formed by Virginia Military Institute alumni in response to the Governor Ralph Northam-ordered VMI racism investigation, has endorsed the Republican slate of candidates for statewide office — Glenn Youngkin for Governor, Winsome Sears for Lieutenant Governor, and Jason Miyares for Attorney General.
In making endorsements, VMI alumni have taken a different tack from dissident alumni at the University of Virginia and Washington & Lee University. The “woke” revolution transforming higher education across the country is being forced upon VMI from the outside, in contrast to the implementation of Critical Race Theory (cultural Marxism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, or whatever you want to call it) which originates internally at other institutions. Neither the Jefferson Council at UVa nor the Generals’ Redoubt at W&L have engaged in electoral politics. Continue reading
by Phil Leigh
The Generals Redoubt (TGR), a Washington & Lee alumni group with an email list of 10,000 supporters, announced Monday resolutions of no confidence in university President William Dudley. You can read the resolutions here and here. Provided below is a four-year chronology of events that drove them to their decision.
January, 2017 — President Dudley takes office
Spring, 2017 — Admissions tours of the interior of Lee Chapel are halted and later restored.
Late summer, 2017 — Tragic events occur in Charlottesville.
Spring, 2017 forward — Members of the English department issue a statement talking about “safe spaces”, “white supremacy,” and Robert E. Lee’s “problematic” connection to the university. Other online posts by faculty in 2017-2018 present a grim picture of Lee and of the situation at the University. It is apparent that the faculty are the main drivers of a “revisionist” history of Lee and of Washington & Lee. Continue reading
William Dudley, president of Washington & Lee University
On July 1, The General’s Redoubt Board of Directors approved a resolution declaring its lack of confidence in President William C. Dudley. The dissident alumni group also urged its 9,700 alumni and other supporters to “evaluate carefully” whether to continue donating to the private university until leadership issues could be resolved. Here follows the text of the resolution. A detailed bill of particulars can be found here, and in the post that follows. — JAB
Whereas, at a duly convened meeting of the Board of Directors of The Generals Redoubt (“TGR”) held on date set forth above, the Directors considered numerous issues relating to the administration, management, operations, identity, governance, leadership and stability of Washington and Lee University (“W&L”), and
Whereas the Directors applaud the courageous and sensible decision of the Board of Trustees of W&L to retain the University’s historically respected name: Washington and Lee University, and Continue reading